Finding Time With Routines And Schedules

I know how busy life gets and we all… ok, most us… feel like we need more time every now and then, right? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t make more time no matter how hard we try so that means we just need to find ways to use our time more wisely.

First things first…

First, we need to get our priorities straight and make sure we are getting the things are done that need to get done like feeding everyone and making sure they have clean clothes to wear. We should probably make sure we clean the house from time to time and if you homeschool you gotta have time for that too. Not to mention that there are so many other things like appointments, grocery shopping, and other obligations that happen every day.

Click here to read about our Google Home Hub has helped this busy Momma keep our routines and schedules organized.

Sometimes it seems like there is no time left for the fun stuff but I promise that routines can help. I have written many a post about our routines here. Our routines help keep us running smoothly most of the time. The routines work when we follow them and sometimes we don’t but we quickly realize how much we need them. As soon as we get back on routine our lives get less chaotic.

I have included some pics and screenshots of our different routines and schedules below but please don’t think this is complicated. Ours are far more complicated than most as we have a lot of things going on here and I need these to keep myself and my household organized. Every family is different and every set of routines will be different What works for us may not work for you but feel free to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines and/or schedules.

Continue reading “Finding Time With Routines And Schedules”

Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

This is gonna sound crazy but I wanted to take a minute and maybe give everyone a bit of comic relief or at least a chuckle. I also want everyone to see the not so pretty side of our home because I know that many people stress about the way their houses look, especially with so many guests and company right now, and they feel like they are failing.

You aren’t failing anything, trust me, if failure were based on the way our houses look on a day to day basis then I’d be one of the biggest failures there is! Then I also seem to let people down at times because they have a certain image in their heads of how our large homeschooling family life is. This weekend I realized that a lot of people really have different opinions and ideas when it comes to these matters. I promise, we are just ordinary people, doing ordinary things, on a larger scale in a small cabin… lol. Have you noticed the blog name change? Kirby’s Korner will now be dedicated to  square dancing. 

Continue reading “Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins”

7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a shortlist of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time. Continue reading “7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today”

Finding Peace Amongst The Dirty Socks, Grocery Lists, Stuffed Animals, And Buffalo

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use in our home.

How’s your day going? I hope you said it’s going well but if it didn’t you may be having a day like mine. I’ve been busy, too busy on too many things… you probably know how that goes when you try to multitask. Sometimes multitasking can be great and you can accomplish a lot but then there are those times that nothing seems to get done.

I’ve been working on our next unit study using  ‘The Little House On The Prairie‘ written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had so much fun with our last unit study Little House In The Big Woods Adventure that we decided to keep on going. This is A LOT of work though but I want my kids to have fun learning so it is well worth it. To be honest I’m having a blast doing this with them too.

This next unit study is going to be so much fun! I have found so many projects, crafts, and fun activities to go along with our studies. We will be studying about so many things like prairie animals including prairie dogs and buffalo. Then there are the Native American studies that we will be doing along with continuing our state studies. We will also be touching a little bit on stars and constellations as the kids have really been interested in this topic lately. One of the girls asked to do an herb study too so I am trying to work on that as well.

Of course I have a lot more than that included in the study and I still have to finish up our Life Skills section. This time I am hoping to do it a little differently but still plan to include some fun activities like baking some molasses cookies, sewing sun bonnets, and memorizing some bible verses. I think I will have some camping tips, information, or other activities in this study as well so we may see a Weenie Roast and S’mores in our future! I’m not sure what other fun activities I will find to go along with it as I haven’t really even started this section yet and I plan to start this unit next week! AHHHH!

You can check it out and use some of the activities to go along if you plan to read this series with your kids too. A good majority of the resources I link to are FREE because I really like FREE stuff. Some of the links are affiliate links to things we are or will be using.

I am slowly working my way through the books and coming up with lots of fun stuff to do. It has been such slow progress because of so many unexpected interruptions. The biggest being the impromptu trip to Pennsylvania due to the passing of my Mom-mom. I am still not quite over that as much as I felt I should have been by now but I know everything takes time.

Then on top of that I have a houseful of kiddos running around. There are so many chores, like the never ending laundry, and so much cleaning that I need to catch up on I get overwhelmed at times. Not to mention I have to feed these little monsters at least three times a day! No wonder I can’t get anything done. Another issue this week has been our internet… yes, again. It seems that no matter what I do I can’t get it to do like I feel it should. We don’t have a lot of choices so I’m kinds stuck with what I have for now but I do plan to research options… really I do when I get a free moment… lol.

img_5547

Continue reading “Finding Peace Amongst The Dirty Socks, Grocery Lists, Stuffed Animals, And Buffalo”

Simplify Your Life: Step 7 Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

Money is a big cause of stress in many people’s lives. So it would only make sense that getting rid of debts and bills can help us to simplify our lives and reduce stress. Credit cards and online shopping make it is so easy to buy things and accumulate debt without realizing it. We see something we want and we buy it and then we regret it when the bill comes in.

If we can learn to live a bit more frugally then we can learn to buy less, want less, be more eco friendly, simplify our budgets, and reach our financial goals of being debt free. We can’t do a lot about what has already been done but we can work towards simplify our lives to prevent the stress from these debts and bills.

One way we can do this is by setting up automatic deposits and payments. You can have your paychecks automatically deposited and you can also set your bills on auto pay. By doing this you can get those bills paid while preventing late payments. If you want to save a little bit more then you can even go paperless which will help to cut down on paper clutter and mail.  All of this adds up to less stress and a simpler life as there are fewer things to worry about.

I have found that I can not only simplify some of my shopping but save time and money while helping the planet by using subscription services and the convenience of online ordering for some things like cleaning supplies, household supplies, groceries, essential oils, and other items. My favorite place to use are:

Now if you have already overspent and just don’t have the money to cover the bills then that is another story. That can lead to a lot of stress. You can set a budget and work on learning to only buy what you need. You may also want to look into ways to bring a little extra income. Many of these places I listed above also offer affiliate or referral bonuses which can help out too.

I really like the simplicity of the Wealthy Affiliate program. It not only teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing but helps you to set up your own website. With the company’s ‘pay it forward’ attitude there is a constant supply of support from other members who have been right where you are right now. Go ahead, check it out, and sign up for your FREE account right now.

Congratulations!

This was the last step of my Simplify your life series. I hope you found some of the information useful. If you implement these easy steps into your life you will find you have more FREE time for quality moments with your friends and family. Good luck!

Have you thought of starting your own blog to make a little extra money? Check out 3 Steps to Start that Blog You’ve Been Dreaming Of for some great ideas to get started.

 

wealthy-affiliate-membership-grid

Simplify Your Life: Step 6 Set Up Routines

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

6. Set Up Routines

This goes without saying for us here and maybe I should have included it in Step 5 but I  felt it deserved its own post. Simple routines for morning, afternoon, and evenings have been the key to making life so much easier and simpler for us. Everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them and when.

We also have a routine for bill paying, laundry, and our homeschool. The important to remember is that you probably don’t need all of these. Focus on what you need to accomplish and set up a routine. Work on that one routine to simplify it and make it as efficient as possible. This make take a little time but it is so worth it.

Having a hard time getting everyone out the door in the morning? Maybe you should make a routine for the night before. It could include everyone placing their bookbags, briefcases, bags, and things they need at the door or other designated location. Many times our lives are stressful and chaotic because we don’t put a lot of thought into our plans but routines can change that.

Check out Make Over Your Mornings LIVE for some great ideas!

You can read more about all of our routines here. Remember that you need to base your routines around your life and not based on other’s. Routines have been proven to help make people more successful! Check out these books here and here for more ideas!

You can also check out Make Over Your Evenings for more tips on evening routines.

Meal Planning

Part of your routines can include Meal Planning.

This is an absolute necessity in our house. Meal planning is really not as difficult as it may seem and it can be done in so many different ways. There are several posts and article written about meal planning that you can find by searching with Google. There are services and courses you can sign up for too.

You can also check for books on the topic at your local library. A couple of my favorite books are ‘Complete 30 days meal plan: Meal planning ideas including weight loss resources and weight loss recipes‘ and ‘Meal Planning on a Budget: Save Money on Groceries, Master Meal Prep, & Reduce Food Waste to Reach Financial Freedom’I also like this little meal planning pad I found on Amazon, it looks so simple!

Are you tired of spending too much on groceries? Check out Grocery University to learn everything you need to know about making the best of your grocery budget.

Not only can meal planning make your life simpler it can also save you money! You can read more about how we meal plan here and check out some of our previous meal plans here.

Click here to continue to Step 7.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

Simplify Your Life: Step 5 Get Organized

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

Step 5 Get Organized

Whoa! I know this one may be not be easy for some but you can do it! I know you can. Did you that the average person spends about 12 days every year looking for things? I think a Momma spends twice that amount. That’s at least 30-45 minutes a day wasted because you aren’t organized!

Imagine how much money you could save if you had a system for organizing your bills and getting them paid on time! This tip goes along with Step #6 and should come after you have completed Step #4.

Please don’t try to organize until you’ve declutter because it may get too overwhelming. I recently decluttered and organized our whole house and let me tell you that it has made a HUGE difference in our lives! Everyone can find anything at any time and everything has a place.

Getting organized can include things like setting reminders for birthdays, appointments, paying bills, or important events. We have reminders set for just about everything else like library due dates, semi annual bills, some chores, etc. I even have reminders for the due dates for our club’s newsletters and updates.

The easiest tool I have found to keep me organized is my Cozi calendar. I have it on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. I have also installed it on Mr. Awesome’s phone and my ex husband has access to our calendar as well. That way everyone knows when we have upcoming appointments and events. Cozi even sends out email reminders!

This makes my life so much simpler as I don’t have to worry about forgetting important things, as long as I have remembered to enter them into the calendar. I also use Cozi for my meal planning so I if I forget my grocery list, or if I forget to make one, I can quickly check my phone for what I need to get. Cozi also has so many other great (FREE) resources to help you organize and simplify your life.

If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to install another app you can still use most phones to set reminders. You can also use paper and pencil, post its, or find a nice planner to help you organized. I used to carry a small one around in my purse but now I just use my phone which can be aggravating if the service isn’t great.

For keeping our homeschool schedules straight I like to use Homeschool Manager which I believe is coming out with a mobile app. This has helped so much with keeping track of what needs to be done and what has been done. Not too mention the fact that we can instantly print our attendance reports and report cards which is great. So simple and easy!

These ideas may seem like I am contradicting Step #2 but I think that technology is a great thing if used correctly.

In addition to these ideas you may want to work on setting up systems/routines for handling the following:

  • mail/paperwork
  • housework
  • filing
  • bill paying

Keep your systems simple and work on them to make them easy and efficient. Being organized can keep you from forgetting things and save you so much time and money! This can help to reduce your stress and simplify your life. The next step will have more about routines. 

Need ideas to get started? Check out these books here and here. You can also get my FREE printable bill organization spreadsheet by clicking on the link provided.

You can also check out Make Over Your Year for more ideas.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click for Step 6.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

Simplify Your Life: Step 3 Learn To Say ‘NO’ Without Feeling Guilty

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

3. Learn to say ‘NO’ without feeling guilty

I am so guilty of this! Right now I am sitting here with two laptops open, a huge TO-Do list, and a pile of notes that I’m taking care of. Not to mention that I have five kids running around who also need my attention, laundry to finish, and there will be lunch and dinner to make at some point. Many of these items on my To-Do list are not personal items for myself but things I’ve told others I’d help them with.

Why do I let myself do that? I am just a genuinely helpful person and I don’t seem to be able to say ‘NO’ when others ask for my help. This is something I really need to work on if I am ever going to have any time for myself and my family.

So many times we let ourselves get overwhelmed by making too many commitments. Sometimes we really just need to relax and enjoy life. It’s hard, I know, to say ‘NO’ but we really need to learn to do it more. Once we learn how to say ‘NO’ to the things that aren’t that important we will have more time to say ‘YES” to those things that are important. Check out this book, ‘How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty: And Say Yes to More Time, and What Matters Most to You‘, for tips.

While you are practicing saying ‘NO’ start saying ‘NO’ to multitasking too.

Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed? Check out 3 Strategies to Stop Feeling So Overwhelmed (FREE Webinar).

Stop Multitasking?

Wait, what? Yes, I know that might seem impossible. I am always multitasking as are most Mommas. The problem is that many times we start things and don’t finish them.

I have so many half finished projects laying around the house. Granted quite a few of them don’t belong to me but they are the result of multitasking.

When we are focusing on so many things we aren’t as focused on the task on hand. We need to focus on the stuff that really matters and work on it until completed before moving on to the next task. You will find that life is much simpler when we stop sweating the small stuff.

Check out these books here and here to find out how to get more done.

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

 

Click here to go to Step 4.

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

Simplify Your Life: Step 2 Reduce Your Screen Time

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

This post is part of a multi-section post in honor of National Simplify Your Life week which is the first week of August. The original post wasn’t as short and simple as I had wanted it to be so I decided to break it down into a few shorter posts.

2. Reduce Your Screen Time

Ever feel like you just don’t have enough time? Maybe you need to reevaluate how much screen time you use. I’ve seen reports that the average American spends over five hours on social media!

Over the summer I did a little experiment while we went on vacation. I didn’t check any of my social media, no TV (which wasn’t hard for me as I rarely watch it anyway), and I didn’t use my phone unless I needed to check messages from family. Boy did I have a lot of FREE time to spend.

As a country we are spending more and more of our time plugged into social media. I know I’m guilty of wasting time as social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family but time gets away from us so quickly online. Many of us, especially the younger generation, are obsessed with checking messages, new blogs posts, Instagram, tweets, etc. While we are checking on notifications life is passing us by.

Its not just social media and smart phones that are the problem. TV is another time waster as well as gaming that seems to be such an obsession now.

Are you afraid of having nothing to do? Do you think that keeping yourself and your family entertained will be too expensive? Try finding free or cheap forms of entertainment. I promise they are out there.

Unplugged‘ is a cute book about how much fun one can have when you are ‘unplugged’. Try a ‘screen fast’ and see how it simplifies your life this weekend. Check out these books here and here for some fun frugal family fun ideas. 

Be sure to check out the other post in this series for more simple ways to simplify your life.

Click here to go to Step 3.

 

Start your  FREE account with the  Wealthy Affiliate program.

New Classes Starting Soon!

I’m so looking forward to starting new classes because that means I’ll be meeting new people that I may not normally be in contact with. Our club has grown so much since I first started in January.

Many of us started out as strangers and now we are closer than some families. We come from all walks of life as we have moms, dads, bloggers :), farmers, quilters, hairdressers, nurses, teachers, grandmas, grandpas, young kids, cashiers, and even a retired doctor just to mention a few.

All of us have at least one thing in common, square dancing, and we are able to spend time with each other while also improving our lives one step at a time! We have so much fun it doesn’t seem possible. Many of us even do things together other than square dancing like shopping, hunting, and going out to eat on occasion.

(Some of our members don’t dance and just come to mingle with us and give us moral support but they are just as important as everyone else.)

I will say that just being a member of this club has helped my stress levels, helped me to make many new friends, improved my memory and concentration, helped my aches and pains from Fibromyalgia and arthritis, and just given me such a sense of accomplishment. I am proud to be a member of this group and proud to participate in the many events that we have done this past year including special dances and fundraisers.

If you would like more information please check out  Classes on the Silver Fox Squares site.

Life in 2016

Reflections of 2016

December 30, 2016

December 27, 2016

December 21,2016

December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016

December 3, 2016

December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 26, 2016

November 20, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 8, 2016

Reflections of 2016

Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!

We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.

I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.

My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.

I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.

I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.

Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.

During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.

There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.

I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best. 

Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.

We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.

I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.

Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!

I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.

These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.

I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.